Pioneer in Balboa late-night deliveries crafts a new comfort food menu

Some food is just better after midnight.

Jared Jones had been living on the Balboa Peninsula when he thought of how to cater to the bustling nightlife scene that crowded the Newport Beach destination.

Though the peninsula already was home to many sit-down restaurants and quick food stops, Jones noticed locals wanted a more convenient way to get late-night eats.

Jones, who was working at Budweiser while doing construction on the side, founded Midnight Muncheez, a delivery service that started long before food services like Postmates and DoorDash operated a network of food couriers.

He offered a delivery menu of ice cream, frozen pizzas, cigarettes and deli sandwiches. The business concept proved lucrative on the weekends with Jones taking about 125 orders on Fridays and Saturdays and making $3,000 to $5,000 a night.

But Midnight Muncheez suffered during the week, and after six years Jones had to call it quits in 2013.

Two years later, he developed a new concept and opened The Beach Barrel off Newport Boulevard.

The restaurant specializes in late-night deliveries — offered until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays — along with a menu featuring thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches and salads with ingredients selected daily from local growers.

The deliveries are offered to residents within 3.5 miles of the restaurant.

The Beach Barrel has consistently earned top ratings from customers.

Yelp reviews have placed the $10.99 Barrel Burger as one of the top 10 hamburgers in Newport Beach.

The Angus ground beef is seasoned with Jones’ secret mix of spices and is topped with slices of avocado, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and grilled peppers. A house-made Thousand Island dressing smothers the top and bottom layers of a grilled brioche bun.

Other popular picks are the Spicy Jerk Chicken Fries — which are covered with melted cheese and garnished with cilantro — and the Playa Cubano, a citrus-braised pork sandwich topped with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, house-made pickles and Dijonnaise pressed on a French roll.

The Hawaiian sticky buns — concocted by Jones’ chef friend — remain a favorite choice for dessert. Four baked Hawaiian buns are layered with marshmallows and smothered in a house-made pecan caramel and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Management often has to pause its delivery orders on weekends to keep up with the demand.

“I wanted unique flavors and I wanted to make it more high-end in a smaller atmosphere,” Jones, 42, said at his restaurant.

Jeremy Harvey eats lunch at The Beach Barrel every Tuesday and orders a chicken sandwich with a side order of unsalted fries.

“The food is delicious,” Harvey said. “They make it special and get it right every time.”

The Beach Barrel, which has partnered with food delivery services like UberEATS, Postmates and Amazon Prime Now, also serves out-of-town guests who are staying at places like the Shorebreak Hotel and at the Marriott and Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach.

Jones said he predicts foot-traffic and delivery orders will further increase when the Lido House Hotel across from his restaurant opens as expected in January.

“We’re very happy and we’re bringing something different,” Jones said.

The Beach Barrel is at 3305 Newport Blvd., Newport Beach. For more information, call (949) 531-6222 or visit thebeachbarrel.com.

kathleen.luppi@latimes.com

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi

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